I Hate IKEA or How to be Screwed

Hi Friends,

A few years ago, I purchased a bed and dresser from IKEA, because they were cheap and I figured it was time to get off the futon. The bed, in a bit of foreshadowing, was a Japanese-style flat bed, and it cost less than $200; the dresser was $130. When the delivery men arrived at my apartment in Jersey City, I couldn’t contain my excitement. There in the hands of Leroy and Jim (don’t know if those were really their names) were seven boxes that were the very first pieces of furniture that I’d ever bought. My previous apartments had either already come furnished or had been furnished with my father’s help.

Opening the IKEA boxes, I realized that I’d paid $330 for a nightmare. Spread around my room were 825,016 bits of wood, 19,685 screws, and an instruction manual with no words but 37 illustrations. What the bloody hell IKEA? I’d always considered myself a feminist, and a can-do woman, but IKEA had me repeatedly saying, “I need a man’s help.” Thankfully, my wonderful friend Darius lived nearby and was willing to assist/relieve/alleviate. He put the bed together, alone, with little difficulty, but it took such a long time that we never got to the dresser (not sure why I just said “we,” since I wanted no part of it). Friends, that dresser traveled with me, still in the boxes, to two different apartments before I finally threw it out.

So, you can imagine my trepidation and extreme hesitation when M, my housemate, told me that she’d bought a kitchen island for her new apartment from IKEA, and wondered if I’d help. Sadly, M‘s leaving Borderless House this Friday, but in a great spin, she’s moving to a fantastic neighborhood (Jiyugaoka), where I’ll visit her often. Ok, let’s get back to the kitchen island from IKEA. We opened the boxes, and there were hundreds of thousands of pieces; it was exactly the horror I’d expected.

We bought some pizzas and beer to fortify ourselves. Believe me when I tell you that it was no easy feat, physically or mentally… I cannot tell you how many times over the course of two days (yes it took us two days to get it standing and the top on), that we shook our heads and said, “I hate IKEA!” M‘s disgust was a little more vociferous; her exact words were “I hate you IKEA.” By putting together that damn kitchen island, we learned that we’re strong women (mentally and physically) who can achieve anything to which we put our minds (though to be honest, at one point I did advise her to call IKEA and have them assemble it).

You know what else we learned? We learned that every single thing that came out of our mouths, though unintentional, sounded like someone’s first sexual experience. Did you guys know that workshop and sexual terms go hand in hand? So, we pounded it/banged it out/got screwed/asked for screws/put it in holes/”No, not that hole”/ etc… it was downright indecent. We were sweating, and we got the job done (… well, M did the drawers after I left).

* The pizza guy from Fermata Pizza that gave us strength.* We took photos every step of the way.

* M shaking her head and asking the IKEA gods, “Why, why, why?!”

Day 2:

* I’m thinking just because I can do it, doesn’t mean that I ever want to put together anything by IKEA again.

See you soon,